Skip to main content

Full text of "A Proposal for a White House Council on Design : a strategy to harness the power of design"

See other formats


White House Council 


A Strategy to Harness the Power of Design 

DESIGN Program 

National Endowment for the arts 

June 1 994 

White House Council 


A Strategy to Harness the power of design 

D E S I G N - of products, services, communications, and 
environments - is a strategic national resource whose full potential 
has yet to be realized. 

Economically, design can enhance prosperity and the opportunities for 
employment by improving the global competitiveness of U.S. products, 
streamlining the manufacturing process, and creatively refining the interface 
between human beings and technology. 

Environmentally, design is an essential element in providing a clean, 
safe, and sustainable environment, making contributions in such areas as 
recycling and pollution control as well as offering strategies for the wise long- 
term use of natural resources, land, and infrastructure. 

Educationally, design is a tool for identifying problems, analyzing 
information, developing critical thinking, envisioning options, and commu- 
nicating solutions. 

Socially, design can break down the physical and psychological barriers 
to full participation in society and open the way for a democratic and 
economic system that is truly inclusive. It does this by making products, 
communications, and environments universally accessible. 

Certainly, there is a breadth of talent and energy being devoted to enhancing 
American design excellence, but because efforts are diffused, the message about the 
value and power of design never reaches certain important audiences, coordination 
of programs and strategies is difficult, and overall, opportunities to take advantage 
of design resources simply go unexercised. 

WHAT IS LACKING is focus and leverage to maximize design 
as a national resource. 

Responding to this situation, in June 1993, the National Endowment for 
the Arts' Design Program invited a group of business, government, media, and 
academic leaders to a three-day conference/workshop to explore and develop 
options on the formation of a U.S. Design Council and Office of Federal Design 
Quality. (See Appeiidix A fen the ageiicLi aiid the list of conference/workshop attendees . ) On the first 
day of the meeting, participants heard presentations from the directors of the British 
Design Council, Danish Design Center, International Design Center NAGOYA, 
Barcelona Design Center, and Taiwan Design Promotion Center on the mission, 
activities, and funding of these design promotion organizations. (See Appendix B for a 
summary of these five presentations.) On the second day, participants were divided into four 
working groups. Each group was asked to develop an American version of a design 
council and office of federal design quality and to outline the organization's mission, 
structure, activities, and funding, and to discuss a strategy/implementation plan. 
Later in the day and on the morning of the third day, the chair of each working group 
presented their scenario. This was followed by a general group discussion in an 
attempt to reach a coiisensus as to the best and most feasible options to pursue. (See 
Appendix C for the four scenarios . ) 

The conference/workshop was followed by a presentation about the meeting and its 
outcomes at the June International Design Conference in Aspen. The Design 
Program staff and participants then held discussions with other government 
representatives, business leaders, educators, and designers thrt)ughout the reminder 
of the year. In March 1994, the chairs of the four working groups met in 
Washington to report on these informal discussions and to make final recommen- 
dations. After carefully evaluating many options, they proposed a White House 
Council on Design as the best strategy for leveraging the power of design at a 
national level and recommended that the National Endowment for the 
Arts give this proposal the widest possible circulation. 

White House Council 



resources to achieve strategic national goals in the areas of economic competitiveness, 
environmental quality, education, and social inclusiveness. 

This mission is expansive to mirror the spectrum of arenas in which design can 
have a positive impact, k embraces the notion that design can enhance quality of 
life and economic productivity through an emphasis on identifying and fostering 
better product/service development and production processes, better visual com- 
munications and interactive information technologies, and better working and 
living environments. It recognizes that if we are to conserve natural resources, as 
well as reduce and, where possible, eliminate pollution, we must do so through 
design. It contributes to achieving Goals 2000: The Educate America Act, 
demonstrating the universal application of the design process in developing effec- 
tive critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. And finally, it 
introduces yet another valuable tool in the national effort to make certain that all 
people — irrespective of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or disability — can 
participate in the abundant opportunities our country offers those who live here. 

It is understood that the effectiveness of the White House Council on Design will 
depend on its ability to target and highlight specific elements within these priorities 
and articulate specific objectives. The scope of Council activities, as outlined in the 
next section, should help it achieve this focus. 


White House Council on Design: 

1. Develop and advocate a U.S. Design Agenda. 

2. Organize and administer the Presidential Design Leadership Awards program. 

3. Prepare and disseminate an annual State of Design report. 

The U.S. Design Agenda is envisioned as a list of action items identifying 
specific opportunities for using design to improve economic performance and 
quality of life. It would relate discrete changes in design processes and criteria to well 
defined objectives, and become a tool for defining and advocating precisely how 
design is a strategic resource. Issues on the design agenda could be recommendations 
for government agencies, private organizations, educational institutions, and pri- 
vate industry. An example of such an action item is a national design extension 
service for small business. 

The Presidential Design Leadership Awards are an appropriate and 
highly visible way to profile the strategic value of design as an economic, environ- 
mental, educational, and social resource. These dimensions of design are not well 
understood, and this program would provide a compelling forum tor highlighting 
outstanding examples of American design. Similar to the Malcolm Baldrige 
National Quality Awards, the goal would be to emphasize process rather than 
product. Submissions could be subdivided into separate categories relating design 
excellence to various economic, environmental, educational, and socially inclusive 
outcomes, and entries would be accepted from both the government and private 
sectors. This program expands the federally focused Presidential Design Awards 
currently administered by the National Endowment for the Arts' Design Program. 

The annual State of Design report is a document to assess current 
practice, evaluate progress, and make recommendations for both strategic and 
tactical improvements. Ideally, its scope would be broad, the notion being to 
present as complete a picture of design in the United States as possible. In this 
context, the White House Council on Design's State of Design recommendations 
might extend well beyond the more immediate concerns articulated in its Design 
Agenda. For example, it might discuss design as a means for articulating and 
fostering an understanding of America's cultural diversity. 

established within the Office of the President. The Vice President will be the 
ex'officio chair of the Council. 

Other members will be representatives from American corporations, govern- 
ment agencies, professional design and engineering organizations, educational 
institutions, private foundations, and state and regional design and business orga- 
nizations. The Council will be supported by a small staff and select an Executive 
Board to advise members on policy and program issues. 

The Office OF THE President is the location of the White House Council on 
Design, not only because its mission is broad and strategic, but also to facilitate 
communications and initiatives across a diverse constituency. This structure should 
leverage the ability to reach the private sector, facilitate federal interagency 
coordination and cooperation, nuture state and local government initiatives, and 
establish public/private partnerships and interdisciplinary programs involving busi- 
ness persons, educators, and professional designers. 

Although membership clearly needs to be limited, voices on the 
Council should include innovative business leaders, policy makers from such 
executive departments and agencies as Commerce, Housing and Urban Develop- 
ment, Transportation, Defense, Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, 
and the National Endowment for the Arts, and influential spokespersons from the 
professions of industrial design, engineering, architecture, urban planning, land- 
scape architecture, graphic design, marketing, and design management. Other 
members might come from the ranks of interested business and design educators, as 
well as the heads of state and local organizations that may already be promoting the 
importance of design as a strategic resource. 

Chosen from this larger group, the Council's Executive Board 
would take an active role in helping to shape policy, programs, and research. 
Substantive issues would, of course, have to be debated by the entire Council, but 
the Executive Board's review could streamline that process. A small staff would 
complement this effort by overseeing and coordinating the Council's award pro- 
gram, the annual State of Design report, and the preparation and dissemination of 
the U.S. Design Agenda. 

FUNDING for the White House Council on Design will be a 50/50 split between 
government and private sources. 

In one scenario, the staff and meeting budget would he underwritten by the Office 
of the President. Project and activity support would come from a variety of different 
organizations — gt)vernment agencies, corporations, professional organizations, and 

AT A TIME when funding at the federal level is being scrutinized, 
it would be important to articulate and highlight the many benefits that should accrue 
from the Council's efforts: 

• improving the efficiency oi government. 

• Enhancing innovation processes. 

• Ensuring the effective and timely transfer of technology to 

MARKETABLE ptoducts and setviccs. 

• Helping small business to understand the power of design as a competitive 

and STRATEGIC tool. 

• Increasing international sales of U.S. products and services and 

helping to alleviate the trade deficit. 

• Facilitating the conversion process ot defense companies from 

government dependence to the commercial marketplace. 

• Educating Americans for the MODERN workforce. 

• Creating new employment, training, and professional opportunities. 

• Developing better living, working, and recreation environments. 

• Stimulating the much needed sense oi com m u n ity. 

• Preparing citizens for civic participation and responsibility. 

• Providing an appropriate emphasis on sustai nability issues related to 

energy and other scarce or nonrenewable resources. 

• Advancing implementation of equal employment opportunity thrt)ugh 

UN iver sally accessible design. 

• Nurturing the diversity and effectiveness of public/private 


• Building a cohesive NATIONAL DESIGN infrastructure. 

• Promoting design as a tocus ior national pride and identity. 

Supporters of this proposal to establish the White House Council on 
Design recognize the complementary discussion going 011 to create a U.S. Design 
Council within the Department of Cominerce. This is the central element of a bill 
introduced (H.R. 4673) by Congressman George Brown, chairman of the House 
Science, Space and Technology Committee. Quite appropriately, the legislation 
focuses on augmenting the competitiveness of American products and services 
through design. Should it pass and be signed into law, it is important to note that 
the White House Council on Design, with its broader strategic goals and inter- 
agency/private sector structure, would remain both viable and necessary. Care 
would be taken not to duplicate activities but to tightly link and coordinate the 
programs and talents of both organizations to strengthen and reinforce the presence 
and power of design as a vital U.S. strategic resource. To ensure coordination, the 
membership of the White House Council on Design would include a Department 
of Commerce/U.S. Design Council representative. 

Appendix a 

Harnessing the power of Design 

A Conference/Workshop on Explorinf^ the Formation of a U.S. Design Council and an Office of 

Federal Design Quality, June 9 - 11, 1993 

Sponsored hy the National Endowment tor the Arts' Design Program 

American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washingttm, DC 


Day One Wednesday, June 9 

8:50 - 9:00 

Welcome, H. Alan Brangman, Acting Director, NEA/Design 


9:00 - 9:30 

Desigii , Technuluf![^ and Competitiveness, Deborah Wince-Smith, Senior 
Fellow, Council on Competitiveness and former Assistant Secretary 
of Commerce for Technology Policy 

9:30 - 10:00 

Overview of Existing Design Councils, Robert Blaich, Industrial 
Design Consultant to the Government of Taiwan and former 
Senior Managing Director of Design tor Phillips Electronics N.V. 

10:00 - 10:45 

British De.sipi Council, Ivor Owen, Director General 

1 1 :00 - 1 1 :45 

Danish Desigri Center, Jens Bernsen, Director 

1 1 :45 - 1 2:30 

International Design Center NACjOYA Inc., Ka:uo Kiniura, Executi\e 

1 ;30 - 2; 1 5 

Barcelonu Dcsi,i:^i Center, Mai Felip, Director General 

2: 1 5 - 3:00 

Taiwan Desif^i Promotion Center, Paul Cheng, Executive Directiir 

3: 1 5 - 5:00 

Panel discussiim 

5:00 - 5:1 5 

Closing remarks, H. Alan Brangman 

6:00 - 6:30 

ComTntmieating with Industry, audio-visual lecture by Jens Bernsen 

Day Two Thursday, June 10 

9:00 - 9;45 

Competitii'eness; Department of Commerce View, Kent Hughes, 

Associate Deputy Secretary for Competitiveness Policy 

9:45 - 10: 1 5 

DesigTt in the Federal Govemmem, Robert Peck, Group Vice President 
for External Affairs, American Institute of Architects and former 
Chief of Staft to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 

10: 1 5 - 11 :00 

Open discussion, H. Alan Brangman, Moderatt)r 

1 1 :00 - 1 2:30 

WorkingGroup Sessions: four working groups of 7-8 people to develop 

specific recommendations and a plan/strategy for implementation. 

1 :30 - 3:45 

Workinji Croup .Sessions (continued) 

4:00 - 4:45 

Presentation: Working Group I , Arnold Wasserman, Chair 

4:45 - 5:30 

Presentation: Working Ciroup 2, Doiiald Rorke, Chair 

Day Three Friday, June 1 1 

9:00 - 9:45 

Presentation. Working Group 3, Katherine McCoy, Chair 

9:45 - 10:30 

Presentation: Workinfi Group 4, Tom Hardy, Chair 

10:45 - 12:30 

Group disciission, H. Alan Brangman, Moderator 

1 :30 - 3:30 

Finali-:e reccmunendiitums/ strategy 

3:45 - 4:45 

Summation/ closing remarks, H. Alan Brangman 


Jack Beduhn, Assistant Vice President, Design Integrity, AT&T Global Information Solutions, 
Dayton OH 

Jens Bernsen, Director, Danish Design Center, Copehagen, Denmark 

Robert Blaich, Principal, Blaich Associates, Aspen CO 

H. Alan Brangman, Acting Director, Design Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts, 
Washington DC 

Robert Brunner, Marmger of Industrial Design, Apple Computer, Cupertino CA 

Gary Cadenhead, Professor, Department of Management, University of Texas at Austin, Austin TX 

Paul Cheng, Executive Director, Taiwan Design Promotion Center, Taipei, Taiwan 

Shelia Levrant de Bretteville, Director, Studies in Graphic Design, Yale School of Design, 
New Haven CT 

Edward Feiner, Deputy Director, Public Buildings Service Office of Design & Construction, General 
Services Administration, Washington DC 

Mai Felip, Director General, Barcelona Design Center, Barcelona, Spain 

Vince Gleason, Chief of Publications Division, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the 
Interior, Harpers Ferry WV 

Thomas Grooms, Program Manager, Design Arts' Federal Design Improvement Program, National 
Endowment for the Arts, Washington DC 

Tom Hardy, Strategic Design Planning Consultant, Stamford CT 

Paul Hawken, Entrepreneur and Environmental Writer, Sausalito CA 

Kent Hughes, Associate Deputy Secretary for Competitiveness Policy, U.S. Department of Commerce, 
Washington DC 

David Kelley, Principal, IDEO Product Development, Palo Alto CA 

Kazuo Kimura, Executive Director, International Design Center NAGOYA, Nagoya, japan 

M. David Lee, Principal, StuU and Lee, Inc., Boston MA 

Dorothy Leonard-Barton, Professor, School of Business, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 

Mary Madden, Assistant for Congressional Relations, Office of Legislation, U.S. Department of 
Housing & Urban Development, Washington DC 

Katharine McCoy, Co-chair, Design Department, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills MI 

Deborah Mitchell, Principal/Director, Johnson Johnson & Roy/inc, Dallas TX 

Bruce Nussbaum, Editorial Page Editor, Business Week, New York NY 

Ivor Owen, Director General, British Design Council, London, Great Britain 

RobertPeck, Group Vice/or Externa! A^airs, American Institute of Architects, Washington DC 

Carol Pompliano, Staff, House Subcommittee on Technology, Environment &. Aviation, U.S. 
Congress, Washington DC 

Boone Powell, Principal, Ford Powell Carson Inc., San Antonio TX 
Deane Richardson, Chairman Ementm, Fitch Inc., Worthington OH 
Michael Rock, Professor, Yale School of Design, New Haven CT 
Donald Rorke, President, Steuben, New York NY 

Sally Schauman, Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington, 

Seattle WA 

Roger Schluntz, Dean, School of Architecture, University of Miami, Coral Gables FL 

RitaSue Siegel, Chairman, RitaSue Siegel Associates, New York NY 

Frederick Skaer, Chief of Environmental Programs Branch, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. 
Department (.if Transportation, Washington DC 

Leila Vignelli, Principal, Vignelli A.ssociates, New York NY 

Browen Walters, Principal, Metaphase Design Group, St. Louis MO 

Thomas Walton, Professor, School of Architecture & Planning, The Catholic University of 
America, Washington DC 

Arnold Wasserman, Innoi'ation Strategy, IDEO Product Development, San Francisco CA 

Patrick Whitney, Director, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago IL 

Deborah Wince-Smith, Senior Fellow, Council on Competitiveness, Washington DC 

Noel Zeller, President, Zelco Industries, Mt. Vernon NY 


Charles Atherton, Secretary, Commission of Fine Arts, Washington DC 

Moria Cullen, Writer, Communications Arts, New York NY 

Andree Dumermuth, Con/identiai A.ssistant to Kent Hughes, Associate Deputy Secretary for 
Competixeness Policy, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington DC 

Yoshiko Ebihara, Director, Gallery 91, New York NY 

Andrew Euston, Senior Urban Desigtier and Energy Program i)fficer. Office of Enxironment &. Energy, 
U.S. Department of Housing &. Urban Development, Washington DC' 

Kristina Goodrich, Senior f)irect(ir/H.\tenuilA//air.s, Industrial Designers Society of America, Great 
Falls VA 

Chee Pearlman, Editor, i.D. magazine, New York NY 

Seppo Sillain, Chief of Geometric and Roadside Desigii Branch, Federal 1 lighway Administration, U.S. 
L\'partment of Transportation, Washington DC 

Thomas Vonier, Correspondent, Progressive Architecture, Paris, France 

Susan Wing, Executii'e Director, Association ot liulependent C'olleges of Art 6i Design, 
Washington DC 


Appendix b 

DESIGN PROMOTION Organizations Abroad 

Should the U.S. estabUsh a design promotion organization? If the answer to the 
question was based simply on evaluating the example of other nations, there is little 
doubt that the response would be yes. No claim is being made that every country 
has some kind of design council, but it is a fact that a significant number of the 
nations with whom we compare ourselves economically and socially, and many 
countries that business and government leaders in U.S. perceive as industrial 
competitors have such institutions. Today, there are more than 100 design councils 
around the world. The list of "believers" includes Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, 
Canada, France, Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland, and even 
Eastern European nations such as Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria. 
A L O O K at Some Precedents 

Based on presentations given on the first day of the conference/workshop, the 
following illustrate several design promotion organization options. None is pre- 
sented as a specific model for the U.S., but they demonstrate possibilities with 
respect to structure and size, budget and programming. 
The British Design Council 

• Established in 1944 as an independent government agency under the auspices of 
the Select Committee on Trade and Industry. 

• No authority to mandate actions in either government or industry; it must 
influence policy through persuasion. 

• A budget of about $18 million - $1 1 million in grants from the Department of 
Trade and Industry and $7 million from other sources such as publishing and 
consultancy fees. 

• The Council's headquarters is located in London with offices in five regions; 
regional offices offer services and sponsor activities tailored to the design needs of 
that particular area. 

• In general, the program strategy over the past five years has shifted resources away 
from a high-profile consumer focus (exhibits and awards) in a centralized office in 
London to one that seeks to influence design in a small number of key manufacturing 
sectors - presently, clothing and textiles, furniture, and medical equipment - 
through a network of regional offices. 


• An effort has been made to identify intervention points where the Council can 
maximize the benefit of its efforts; the emphasis now is on desig;n for export, CAD, 
materials selectioii, and the development of international prt)duct standards. 

• The Council has a staff of about 215 people, about half of them working in the 
region offices. 

• Activities include a Design Advisory Service, a Design Consultancy Service, an 
Innovation NoticeBoard, a Materials Information Service, publishing, workshops, 
and the annual British Design Awards. 

The Danish Design Center 

• Founded in 1987, the Center is an independent foundation that serves as the 
activities arm of the Danish Design Council. 

• It has a staff of 1 2 with a board of 40 persons c]ualified in design. The board of the 
center and the council are the same. 

• The annual budget is about $2.5 million with $1.6 million coming from the 
Ministry of Industry and the remaining derived from fees for services and from 
publication sales. 

• Most of the Center's energies are devoted to promoting design in Danish industry; 
other priorities are design education and training, and promotion of Danish design 
outside Denmark. 

• Specific activities are diverse, entrepreneurial and responsive to opportunities as 
they arise. On-going projects include maintaining a database and library, offering 
a design management consultaiicy service, supporting a publicatitnis program, 
ht)sting and organizing exhibitions, running design competitions, giving three 
annual design awards, and working with the Ministry of Education and Research and 
the Ministry of Industry to develop design education policy guidelines. 
International Design Center nagoya Inc. 

• Builds t)n Japan's loiig standing commitment to design expressed in internation- 
ally recognized programs supported by the Ministry o{ International Trade and 
Industry (MITl). 

• A quasi-governmental corporation organized in 1992 with a capital of $100 
million as a jttint venture of the Aichi Prefecture Go\'ernment, the City of Nagoya, 
Nagoya Chamber ot Commerce and Industry, Chubu Economic Federation, and 
corporate trustees from the business sector. 

• Serves as a bridge of global communication between community, industry, and the 
design profession to be an internatit)nally oriented cultural and eciinomic pivotal 

point for design-related information gathering and dispersion. 

• Presently operating with a staff of 1 7. 

• This design center will be the largest of its kind in Japan and will be housed in a 
new building, currently under construction, with more than 160,000 square feet of 
space devoted to design center activities. 

• Major emphasis placed on the importance of design to the general public in 
addition to its importance to industry. 

• Elements of the project are an R&.D center focusing on high-tech design as it 
relates to product development, marketing and design management, design educa- 
tion and curriculum programs, corporate development services in the area of design, 
a design museum, a design resource center, and a shopping mart with retail outlets 
open to the profession, industry, and the public. 

Barcelona Design Center 

• A private not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 by a group of designers and 
various public and private entities to promote industrial and graphic excellence for 
both cultural and economic purposes. 

• Governed by a 45 -member Board of Patrons whose honorary president is King 
Juan Carlos and whose chair is the Minister of Industry and Energy of the Catalonian 

• An annual budget of $ 1 .7 million excluding grants and special programs; although 
it is not government sponsored, one third of the funds come from government 
agencies and the rest from private sources. 

• Staff of 11. 

• Activities include a Business Advisory Service analyzing the most effective roles 
for design in the corporation under study, a design information resource center, a 
national design awards program, the organization of exhibitions and competitions, 
and the development of design education and design management programs. 
Taiwan Design Promotion Center 

• An arm of the public/private China External Trade Development Council, the 
center was formed in 1979 to help raise the level of industrial design in Taiwan and 
improve the quality, image, and competitiveness of Taiwanese products on world 

• Staff of about 80. 

• Exact budget unclear but does receive major portion of $170 million industrial 
design initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to improve design 

and manufacturing quality, to enhance the perception of Taiwanese products, and 
to upgrade the industrial design resources and talent available within Taiwan itself. 

• Nine program areas: design management, design research and development, 
industrial design, commercial design (i.e., graphics and identity programs), pack- 
aging design. Euro-design coordination, and three Taipei design centers abroad - 
Duesseldorf, Milan and Tokyo. 

• Broad range of activities including design consulting referral service, industrial 
design education, packaging design research and testing, "good design mark" 
awards, publications, exhibitions, and international design interaction between 
domestic and fi,)reign designers. 

• Center is recognized as a highly effective vehicle for liaison and coordination 
among designers, manufacturers, educational institutions, and government agen- 

THE MESSAGE Behind these Institutions 

This comparative exercise could continue, indeed for many more pages. But the 
point is ncn to develop an exhaustive list. It is rather to underline the fact that an 
impressive number of nations are committed to nurturing design - some, given the 
examples of Nagoya and Taiwan, quite aggressively - as a national resource. 
Several articulate or imply improvements in the quality of life as a valued result of 
this effort. All believe critical economic benefits emerge from pursuing this 

This last point is confirmed by Harvard Business School professor Robert Hayes 
when he discussed competitiveness in the Summer 1990 issue of the Design 
Management Jounxal: 

First price, then quality, then speed and responsiveness, then the innovation cycle; what 
is next? Even as companies struggle with product development, it is possible to discern 
the next competitive challenge. It is design! And it will not be an easy one for many 
companies to master. 

In a March 11, 1991 , Fortune article, "Design that Sells and Sells and...," reporter 
Brian Dumaine made the same poitit with these words: "After years of ferocious 
competition on price and quality, many companies believe that superior design will 
be the key to winning customers in the Nineties." 

Clearly, certain countries were aware of this message long before the nineties and 
made design a matter of national policy. It is notable that all five models reviewed 

at this workshop/conference, whether private (Denmark and Barcelona), govern- 
ment (Britain), orquasi-government (Taiwan andNagoya) organizations, received 
government funding that ranged from ahout a third of their budget (Barcek:)na) to 
almost 100 percent (Taiwan). 

In the U.S., however, the focus on design is left to the discretion and wisdom o( 
individual companies. The laissezfaire ideals upon which we base our economy do 
not leave much room for intervention, however well-intentioned. More specifi- 
cally, design is commonly perceived as an "extra," the aesthetic veneer on an 
otherwise functional and already acceptable product, service or environment. In 
this sense, design adds value but is not regarded as essential. Abraham Maslow's well 
known "hierarchy of needs" perpetuates this thinking when it assigns design to the 
last category in which human beings seek satisfaction. 

Those committed to the principles behind the establishment of a design council or 
some other type of design promotion organization, of course, understand things 
differently. They believe that design is anything but an "extra," that in business 
decisions and as a matter of policy, it is pervasive, an element that should be 
considered in areas ranging from strategy and conceptual development to marketing 
and production, from identity and communications problems to product develop- 
ment and architecture. 

The problem in the U.S. is to document these outcomes and create a voice that 
conveys the power of design. The documentation has to demonstrate that design 
is a management tool, an organizational asset - not a aesthetic "extra." It also has 
to include ways of accurately measuring the benefits that accrue from an investment 
in design. The voice actually has to be a chorus combining support from business 
persons, design professionals, academicians, and strategic planning experts as well 
as government leaders. The challenge is anything but easy. It is one that has been 
attempted before. Fortunately, there are indications that renewing efforts in this 
area might have a better chance of success than in the past. 


Appendix c 

FOUR SCENARIOS for a U.S. Design Promotion Organization 

Based on international precedent, a rationale that affirms the economic, educa- 
ticmal, and quality of life contributions of design, and what appears to be a growing 
momentum to take more dramatic steps in the arena of design promotion, we 
confront a special opportunity, a junctiiMi where the example of others, a body o( 
thinking and the particulars of history create the chance to act decisively. It is tc^ 
take advantage of this situation that this conference/workshop was convened by the 
National Endowment for the Arts' Design Program. But with our uniquely 
American set of economic, political, and geographic circumstances, how exactly 
should we proceed? Design as it relates to business strategy and quality lacks a 
coherent constituency and depth of expertise. And the size and diversity of our 
nation makes a single design management focus difficult to achieve and support. 

To respc^nd to these circumstances, after a day and a half of presentations, 
participaiits were divided into four working grt)ups. Each group was asked to 
develop an American version of a design council and office of federal design quality 
and to outline the organization's mission, structure, activities, and funding. Each 
team also had to discuss a strategy/implementation plan. These four scenarios are 
outlined in the following pages. 

SCENARIO ONE American Design Development Office 

To create an environment for influencing design quality in a public/private 
partnership organized to improve Arnerican competitiveness and social inclusive- 


The American Design Development Office would be an indeperident public/ 
private agency with a broad community-based constituency within industry, 
various levels of government, academic institutions, and regional and local commu- 
nities, it would have a small headquarters staff lead by an entrepreneurial director. 
Oversight would be provided by an interdisciplinary advisory board. 

As an institution, the AL^D would, like the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 
be a hybrid public/private organizatit)n. Ideally, it would piggyback activities on 


existing federal design programs such as those in Commerce, Transportation, the 
Post Office, and Veterans Affairs. It would build partnerships with other levels of 
government and the private sector including links to state and local organizations, 
corporations, business associations, and educational institutions. It also would 
network with similar design promotion entities abroad. 

• Write and distribute design case studies. 

• Provide professional schools with information and curricula on managing design. 

• Prepare programs on design that reach all levels of education. 

• Establish a network to share design education resources and ideas. 

• Make the economic and social benefits of design explicit and visible. 

• Operate through existing organizations to improve the design competition 
process, create internships, and initiate/refine awards programs. 

• Foster design excellence at the federal level as a model for the private sector. 

• Create a system for design quality review within the federal government. 

• Profile examples of poor design as a method for raising design consciousness. 

• Stimulate design activities at the grassroots level - where the people are. 

• Inaugurate and publicize an annual State of Design report reviewing the status of 
design in both the public and private realms. 

• Share design information via an Internet DESIGNET. 

• Nurture regional design activities building on ADD's resources and expertise. 

• Address design responses to environmental and resource problems. 

Initial financial support for the American Design Development Office might be 
made available by reallocating money designated for existing federal programs. 
Later, it should be a line item in the federal budget similar to Congressional 
appropriations for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Perhaps a portion 
of export tax credits could be allocated to ADD. Other revenues could come from 
grant support and royalties. 

In the short-term, ADD might be created by an Executive Order. Over the long- 
term, ADD would be established legislatively by passing the appropriate authoriza- 
tion and appropriations bills. To realize both strategies, a lobbying effort - 
combining voices from the various design professions and business - would be 
initiated to garner the attention and commitment of the executive branch and to 

build suppc^rt fcir ADD on the local and regional levels as well as among members of 
Congress. A bottoms-up, broad community-based implementaticm strategy would 
include sharing a better understanding of the value of design with business 
executives in small- and medium-sized firms as well as state and city political leaders. 

To get the ball rolling, desigri activities might be started within various federal 
agencies - e.g., exploring the importaiice c^f design as part of Commerce's Manufac- 
turing Extension Centers program, starting a design development program as a facet 
of the Small Business Administration, having the EPA initiate K-12 education 
packages on environmental issues. Perhaps some interest in ADD also could be 
created by linking it with Vice President Gore's initiative to "reinivent gcwern- 

More directly, an Executive Order creating ADD could be drafted and circulated 
among the President's advisors. A multi-disciplinary Design Advisory Board might 
be organized with representatives from the design professions, industry, the arts, 
education, and government to highlight the breadth, significance, and legitimacy 
of establishing a national design agency. 

Any implementati(.)n program needs to take into account what is legislatively 

possible; what kind of testimony has to be prepared to make ADD happen; what can 

be done and what cannot be done through National Endowment for the Art's 

Design Program; what is necessary to get the attentit)n of the President and have 

him issue an Executive Order; and what aspects of design can be productively linked 

to other important issues such as protecting intellectual property and safety 


Working Group Members 

Arnold Wasserman, Chair; Sheila de Bretteville, Bruce Nussbaum, Michael Rock, 

Sally Schauman, Roger Schluntz, Noel Zeller 


SCENARIO TWO The U.S. Design Council 

To increase U.S. competitiveness through the promotion of design excellence. This 

mission is based on the assumption that design is a vital tool for imprtiving the 

competitiveness and quality of American products and companies. It is important 

to note that job growth is a likely benefit of a more competitive America. This group 

also believed that there would be a natural and positive impact on quality of life and 

social conditions as a result of the emphasis on competitiveness. 


A U.S. Design Council would be established within the Department of Commerce 

and be guided in its programs by a Board of Advisors from the public and private 

sector. An executive director with a small staff would carry out and coordinate 

program activities at the national level with additional staff at the Department of 

Commerce's regional offices. 

In the near-term, the audiences for Council activities would be business executives, 
especially in the areas of marketing and product development, business schools, new 
companies, and firms undergoing a major transfc^rmation including those in the 
defense industry. Over the long-term, the public - notably school children and 
consumers - would become a target of Council initiatives. 

The Council would not focus on federal design quality. It would stress programs to 
create partnerships and strategic alliances between the Council and its audiences. 

Building a base of knowledge and expertise 

• Developing design case studies. 

• Defining standards: what is excellence? 
Outreach: building networks and relationships 

• Creating an electronic database and resource center. 

• Mountirig exhibitic:)ns. 

• Developing career awareness materials. 

• Making presentations at business conferences. 

• Giving design support to businesses through extension programs, publications, 
seminars, and referrals. 

Incentive program 

• Giving awards for design excellence and excellent design processes. 

• Being an advocate for strong intellectual property protection. 

• Promoting tax breaks for design investments. 

• Providing grants to support design excellence activities. 

For a five-year seed period, the U.S. Design Council would be 100 percent funded 
by the federal government. Later, this would be reduced as other resources were 
developed including the procurement of matching monies for specific programs, 
charging fees for services, and seeking private foundation and corporate support. 
Perhaps states could be tapped to finance some of the costs associated with the 
regional offices. 

• Analyzing previous efforts to create a Design Council (e.g., H.R. 3514). 

• Preparing a detailed plan of action. 

• Broad-based lobbying effort: 

. Raising private funds and building a coalition of corporate and professional 
support (e.g., five corporations to contribute $250,000 each). 

. Writing the necessary authorization and appropriation legislation. 

. Finding advocates in Congress and the executive branch including the Vice 
President and the Secretary of Commerce. 

. Preparing supporting documentation and lobbying materials. 

• Creating a voluntary design council advocacy board headed by a persuasive 

• Developing a precise council structure, organization plan, and schedule of 

Working Group Members 

Donald Rorke, Chair; Robert Brunner, Gary Cadenhead, Vince Gleason, Mary 

Madden, Carol Pompliano, Bronwen Walters 


SCENARIO THREE National Design Partnership 

To promote the recognition of design innovation as central to the continuous 
reinvigoration of the nation's global competitiveness, prosperity, and quality of life 
and work. The Partnership would seek to develop a collaborative infrastructure to 
insert design at the core of an integrated product development process in public and 
private organizations from local to national levels. 

The National Design Partnership would be an independent public/private partner- 
ship. It would be co-chaired by the Vice President of the United States and a 
corporation or university president. Its advisory body, the Forum, would be 
composed of the following presidentially- appointed members: an under-secretary 
of Commerce, the director of the National Endowment for the Arts' Design 
Program, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce, the head of the 
American Design Council, one Congressperson, four design leaders, three univer- 
sity presidents, one K-12 representative, three corporate presidents, one labor 

Operationally, the Partnership would be under the leadership of the Design 

Advocate General, a persuasive, energetic, visionary individual. The staff would be 

small and responsive. The central office would be located in Washington, DC. 


The Partnership would focus on programs in three broad-based areas of recognized 

need and opportunity: 

To support competitiveness: 

• Network, support, and fund existing design advocacy programs from the local to 
the national level, affiliating with these organizations to enhance impact and 

• Provide a technical assistance program, in conjunction with professional design 
organizations, to start-up firms, small- and medium-sized manufacturers, and gov- 

• Participate in the Commerce Department's Manufacturing Extension Centers 

• Establish a library and electronic database on design as a management resource. 

• Fund design management research. 

To stimulate and reward design excellence: 

• Establish a design process award with entry procedures similar to those used for 
the Malcohn Baldrige National Quality Awards, to honor and promote as a model 
the successful integration of the design process into product and project develop- 
ment. Applicants would he from the private sector or government. 

• Advocate adding design process as a criteria in the Malcolm Baldrige Awards 

To increase understanding about the importance of design: 

• Develop design curricula for grades K-12 and for business schools. 

• Write an annual report on the State of Design addressed to Congress, the 
executive branch, and professional organizations. 

• Advocate the addition of a design representative to the Council on Sustainable 


The National Design Partnership would be supported by funds from three sources. 

Government agencies, such as Commerce and the National Endowment for the 

Arts, would designate funds to the Partnership. Corporate giving and foundation 

grants would be used to generate an endowment. Finally, fees would be collected 

as a revenue stream. Start-up funding would be dependent on corporate grants. 


The Partnership would be implemented through an Executive Order. Initially it 

would focus on concrete, quantifiable economic goals, assessing existing viable 

resources and inventing as few new entities as possible. The emphasis would be on 

people/communication/networks rather than place/location. 

Working Group Members 

Katherine McCoy, Chair; Jack Beduhn, Paul Hawken, David Kelly, David Lee, 

Boone Powell, RitaSue Siegel, Frederick Skaer 


SCENARIO FOUR U.S. Commission on Design and Technology Innovation 

To integrate design processes in government and industry to stimulate economic 
growth and environmental quality. One goal of the U.S. Commission on Design 
and Technology Innovation is to reshape the economy from a post-cold war 
configuration to one equipped to meet the challenge of the global marketplace. A 
second goal is to foster communication among industries and between industry and 
the government. 

DTI is seen as an independent federal agency with links and on-going working 
relationships with the private sector and state governments. The Commission itself 
would be composed of these constituencies: 

• Federal agency representatives - e.g. Commerce, Housing &. Urban Develop- 
ment, Transportation, State, Arts Endowment. 

• State and regional representatives. 

• Industry and business representatives. 

• Professional design organization leaders. 

• Academic leaders. 

Organizationally, at the federal level, DTI would operate out of the Office of the Vice 
President. With support from cabinet officers, however, there would be mechanisms 
for promoting DTI objectives and activities within a broad range of relevant agencies 
and programs. 

DTI also would develop an outreach strategy to create partnerships at the state, 
regional, and local levels. These would include cooperative ventures with depart- 
ments of economic development, urban planning agencies, and arts councils. 

• Identify opportunities to take advantage of design resources. 

• Support design research. 

• Promote innovation. 

• Provide strategic direction on using design effectively. 

• Demonstrate the value of design in addressing environmental issues. 

• Develop and disseminate design education materials. 

• Foster global communication on design issues. 

• Advocate regulatory reform from a design perspective. 

• Create design recognition programs. 

• Act as a design promotion organization. 

The U.S. Commission on Design and Technology Innovation would be funded 

with a federal appropriation with matching monies coming from state and private 



To make DTI a reality, these steps are suggested: 

• Work with the House Subcommittee on Technology, Environment &LAviation to 
combine the recommendations of this workshop with a new version of H.R.3514. 

• Solicit the support and commitment of federal agencies with design ownership 
(i.e., responsibility) such as Commerce with responsibility for competitiveness and 
technology. Transportation and Housing & Urban Development with responsibil- 
ity for infrastructure and urban design, and the Arts Endowment, Interior and 
Education with responsibility for culture and education. 

• Initiate a Vice Presidential Task Force to: research and define the problem, 
analyze and identify options, build and ensure support, submit a report to the 
President and Cabinet. 

• Prepare an Executive Order to establish DTI. Overall, the goal is to foster the 
marriage of technology and design. This is the heart of the U.S. competitive edge. 
Working Group Members 

Tom Hardy, Chair; Robert Blaich, Alan Brangman, Edward Feiner, Deborah 
Mitchell, Deane Richardson, Leila Vignelli, Patrick Whitney 

Typography katherine McCoy 


n ati on al